I guess you know already that I have been meaning to write this article for a while, perhaps because I start almost every article with that opening. I’m often busy, at the moment I have an idea for an article, with something else that I only note it down along with any major points to recall later. A while ago, during my reading frenzy, which was abruptly cut short by Ramadan and my stumbling through the maze that is Ulysses, I read The Three Musketeers by Alexander Dumas. It’s a famous book, and those who haven’t read it still know the title from somewhere. There was a cartoon or Anime about it a long while ago as well. Strangely enough, most of those who heard about it don’t know what it’s about. I myself only knew it was about three musketeers, doing musketeer stuff, which didn’t encourage me to seek it. What’s even more strange is that it isn’t as heroic as the title would suggest, much like The Great Gatsby in that sense. They both use an appealing title to lure you in then, in the case of Gatsby only, hit you over the head with disappointment.
The Three Musketeers on the other hand is quite amusing and gripping in a way that you can’t help but keep reading it cover to cover in one sitting. Dumas also tells the story in a cinematic way where you may have the ability to guess some of the events and secrets of characters without belittling the amusement and thrill of seeing them unfold before you. It’s a novel where you don’t have to fight boredom, confusion or annoyance. In short it’s a very good story and I would recommend anyone to read it.
That said, I still have a few problems with it. If you haven’t read the book, I urge you not to continue, otherwise you will not want to read it anymore. It’s not a book to be read twice and I will, to a degree, spoil it for you. My first issue is with our protagonist D`Artagnan, who is 20, skillful, handsome, ambitious, strong, hot-headed and exceptionally courageous. That’s not what I deduced or noticed reading the book, that’s what I have been told numerous times by the writer. One too many times in fact. Not only did the narrator remind us every two chapters or so with the fact that our hero is, well, a hero, but his closest friends seem to feel the need to tell him that every once in a while too. Especially Athos, who is a noble, wise, fatherly man that is respected by D`Artagnan. I recall two occasions but there is more. D`Artagnan’s actions, decisions and words would have been more than enough in my opinion to establish how admirable our hero is.
One more thing is about the book, which is that even though it has more than one plot, I know others may disagree, but there is but one villain through most of the novel. Milady. Sounds a bit feminine ? That’s because she is a woman. The person that terrified our hero and his three friends, made him run almost naked, and took four grown men to capture and kill, wears a dress. And she isn’t even one of those Tsunade-like ninjas that cut men’s throats with one hand and nurse a suckling babe with the other, no. She is your everyday beautiful, seductive, and manipulative Jane, Rita or Layla. But everyone is completely fine with the fact that D`Artagnan is scared out of his wits of her. It’s true she tried to assassinate and poison him, but any self respecting woman wouldn’t stay still after being tricked into sex and have the secret she kept from everyone for years discovered by non other than D`Artagnan, and any self respecting man should at least try to look cool and careless on account of the fact he is a brave skilled swordsman, one of the kings’ guards, and is constantly surrounded by armed friends while she is a woman.
Nevertheless, I still maintain that it is a good book and you should read it if you want something light, amusing and worth the time spent on it. There are also two more novels written by Dumas continuing the story of D`Artagnan, Twenty Years After and The Vicomte of Bragelonne: Ten Years Later, but I haven’t read them yet.